Sunday, February 18, 2018

Behold, I have given unto you the names...

Helaman 5:5 For they remembered the words which their father Helaman spake unto them. And these are the words which he spake:
6 Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.
7 Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them.

Even if we don’t know why or who we were named after, we can take this passage of scripture and as a baptized member of Jesus Christ’s church, we can apply the principle to He, whose name we have taken upon us. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

When That Day Comes... What Will You Choose?

I have come across some drafts that were never published, so in an effort to update my blog I am now publishing them.

Yesterday for the opening Hymn in our Saturday night session of stake conference we sang hymn 58; Come Ye Children of the Lord. Upon singing the words in the second verse; Oh, what songs we then will sing to our Savior Lord and King" I began to ponder what song, if given the opportunity, would I sing at that great and perfect moment? Though, unable to fully comprehend that moment, thanks to the righteous artists both past and present, I can express my feelings through hymns. Many come to mind, I Stand All Amazed, I Know That my Redeemer Lives but in the end the one that I feel may come closest to expressing my anticipated emotions is Hymn 86 How Great Thou Art. I have taken some liberties to change the tense, in thought for that millennial day.

Oh, Lord My God, I have in awesome wonder, considered all the worlds Thy hands have made.
I've seen the stars, I've heard the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Now sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art, how great Thou art.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Thee to die, I scarce can take it in.
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing.
Thou bled and died to take away my sins.

And now you've come, I shout with acclamation
and brought me home, the joy that feels my heart!
I before Thee bow in humble adoration and here proclaim My God, how great Thou art!

My daughter Amber texted this to me the other day. I loved it so much that I wanted to store it in a place I will have it forever.

I had this thought yesterday & thought it was pretty cool. Maybe you’ve had something similar before.

Patience in the unto the sacrament. As I sat today in sacrament meeting, my kids wanted their boogie boards, like always I told them after the sacrament. After a bit they were getting restless & I was becoming less patient about it. I found myself thinking, “man it’s taking a long time for them to pass the sacrament”. Then I remembered that we were combined with 2 other wards...of course it would take awhile. As I sat & thought about that, the spirit impressed this thought upon my mind:

We wait & sit reverently as everyone has a chance to partake of the bread & water & let the atonement take effect in their life. Are we as patient & reverent about it in our everyday lives? Do we allow others the opportunity to grow & change in the same way through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ? Or do we find fault, get irritated easily, and/or judge them, never allowing them to change? Just as we hopefully sit with the spirit through the sacrament portion of the meeting, so too, we should “sit” patiently as the atonement of Jesus Christ changes people...including ourselves.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Many a discussion could be had in the chapters that focus on the Anti-Nephi-Lehites, for me today, I focused on one word in one verse.

Alma 24:18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that RATHER than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and RATHER than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and RATHER than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.

Thought given to me today is that when giving up weapons of rebellion, weapons of pride, weapons of the spirit, we need to replace them with something good RATHER than risk the old weapon being picked up again; Perhaps that is part of the nature of burying the destructive weapons. 
But...(taken from an ensign Feb. 1995 pg 7) 
...these Saints eventually learned, as most of us do, that it is harder to live the gospel day by day than to die for it in an instant,
Rather than...give meaning or take away from those precious saints who gave all that day on the battlefield hundreds of years ago. I add this quote:

Spencer W. Kimball
“...Do not scoff and ignore these Nephite-Lamanites unless you can equal their forebears in greatness and until you can kneel with those thousands of Ammonite Saints in the sand on the field of battle while they sang songs of praise as their very lives were being snuffed out by their enemies.  Could you look heavenward, smiling and singing, while the bloodthirsty demons slashed your body with sword and scimitar?  Perhaps the children of the Ammonites are with us." (Conference Report, Apr. 1954, pp. 106-7)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

I'll Ask-ya in Alaska

Summer of 2012
I am attempting something that may or may not work out, due to time and computer constraints, but nonetheless I want to at least try! The past five weeks have been spent in or around Anchorage, Alaska. To say I am having a unique experience is almost an understatement. So, in an epiphany of sorts, I want to try to make the time to blog some of the reactions and comments from those whose doors I have knocked. They may bore any reader who decides to follow but I want to remember some of these experiences of asking in Alaska.

At times I have been shocked at the rude behavior of others and then moved to tears by others sense compassion and goodness. Few have made me laugh but there have been those times . Like one of my first customers. I walked up to his door and saw video surveillance camera already installed pointing directly at me, more than likely I was on video from the moment I walked up. My first thought was, I'm sure I'll never sell this guy but I just want to meet the guy whose set up the system, it was infra-red for crying out loud! I rang the doorbell and from the upstairs window came a voice saying "May I help you?" I can say I wasn't shocked when I saw he was in fatigues, of course an army guy would do something like this! t can't remember exactly what I said but he eventually came down and eventually bought the home automation system, which means the video surveillance equipment, why you might ask? Because he simply wanted to see who was leaving dirty dishes in the sink! He had tenants living with him and was tired of cleaning up the non-confessing culprit.
SP What’s in a name?
Alma 22: 16 “And now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren; therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests, concerning the name that they should take upon them, that they might be distinguished.”

Throughout the scriptures we find significant teachings about taking upon name. Why, what’s in a name?
I suppose the significance lies in the purpose and meaning of whose name and what that name means to us. For the purpose of the Anti- Nephi-Lehi’s, they no longer wanted to be distinguished with the Lamanites; they had changed.

Can a name change us? No, but our choices and desires for taking upon that name, can.
As we take upon the most sacred name given to man, even Jesus Christ. May the love we have for Him and our desire to “take upon” ourselves His attributes and character be forever changing us, that we like the Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s have a desire to be distinguished from our old self, from the world,  that when we see Him, we will know Him, because we will be like Him and forever changed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A beautiful gold candy cane is my second favorite piece of jewelry because of who gave it to me and what I learned from this precious gift: To find joy in the gift that has been given and in turn "learn to better receive, that we may truly rejoice in both the gift and “in him who is the giver of the gift.” ( A. Elder Merrill October G.C. 2006)

The pin was given to me by a girl name Arianna. Arianna was tweleve, yet had a mentality of perhaps a six year old. I haven't seen her since we left Texas ten years ago but I well remember her as a remarkably gifted girl filled with so much love that, I never knew her to see anyone but as her best friend.

One Sunday before Christmas waiting for Sacrament meeting to start, Airianna came to extend her regular welcome to me. In doing so, she admired a wreath pinned on my shirt. It was an old worn out piece that I got at a yard sale long ago. She touched it so reverently and adoringly that I could no longer keep it for myself. I asked her if she would like the pin. I wished I had the ability to paint the picture of her face with words, it showed sheer joy! She immediately asked me to pin it on her. In primary that day she showed everyone her newly adorned pin. You would have thought I had given her a priceless 'Smithsonian worthy' piece of jewelry. When in fact I had not. I think I may have paid fifty cents for it. However the value of the pin laid in the eye of the beholder and she adored her new gift. Behold, she rejoiced in that which is given unto her, also rejoiced in him who is the giver of the gift” (see D.&C. 88:33).

Oh, but wait, I was yet to be taught further from this little angel. After church she asked me if I could come over to her house because she had a gift for me. I tried to tell her I didn't need something in return but she was more than insistent. I had been home maybe twenty minutes when she called and asked if I could come over right now! Frankly, I was a little embarrassed. Her mother finally convinced me when she told me it would devastate her if I didn't come. As I got to their home, I saw Arianna waiting for me on the porch with a small box in her hand. When I opened the small box, I was speechless. I wasn't sure if she hadn't gone and got one of her mother's priceless piece of jewelry to give me. There inside the box was a gold candy cane, adorned with precious jewels, it was beautiful! How on earth could I accept such a gift, yet how could I not? Now it was my turn to learn to receive. I humbly accepted the gift, hugged Arianna as she quickly went on her way oblivious to the significance of the difference in the monetary value of her gift from the one I had given her. Even now as I contemplate, what I consider, my insignificant gift to her I am amazed. Her ability to see beauty and great worth in even something so insignificant to me or the rest of the world will always be an example to me of our Savior.

As we proffer our seemingly insignificant gift; A broken heart, a contrite spirit, to our Savior, He lovingly accepts it, then in return offers a gift so incomparable that we can only marvel in awe of the goodness, no even the greatness of His gift.

And so this Christmas Eve I will wear my pin as yet another reminder of the perfect gift given to us so many years ago; A gift, we can open anew, each and every day as we adorn our lives with His love. As I remember Arianna's outstretched hands so excited to receive my gift, I further understand the Savior's outstretched hands awaiting my simple offer and find peace in knowing that if my heart is pure, (as Arianna's) that through Him, and by Him it is enough.